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One in Three Americans Think Pandemic Is Over

One in Three Americans Think Pandemic Is Over

Story Highlights

  • 34% think the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. is over; 66% do not
  • Three in four say disruption will last through 2022 (40%) or longer (34%)
  • 21% say their lives are back to normal, 58% somewhat normal, 21% not at all

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Although COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are on the rise, 34% of Americans say the pandemic is over, and a broad majority say their own lives are at least somewhat back to normal. Still, half of U.S. adults do not think their lives will ever return to pre-pandemic normalcy and about three-quarters expect COVID-19-related disruptions to life in the U.S. will persist through the end of the year or longer.

These findings are from the Apr. 25-May 2 update to Gallup's probability-based COVID-19 tracking poll conducted via web panel. While an Omicron subvariant has been causing a steady uptick in COVID-19 cases over the past month, this latest wave is nowhere near the record-high spike in cases seen in January.

On April 27, during the survey's field period, Dr. Anthony Fauci asserted in a television interview that the U.S. was "out of the pandemic phase," based on what he described as a "low level" of hospitalizations and deaths in the country at that time. He quickly clarified that the pandemic is not over but that the country had "transitioned into more of a controlled phase."

Americans Now More Likely Than in 2021 to Say Pandemic Is Over

Gallup first asked Americans whether they thought the pandemic was over last June after the vaccine rollout when COVID-19 cases were at their lowest point, and the Delta wave of the virus had not yet hit the U.S. At that time of high optimism, 29% of U.S. adults said the pandemic had ended.

However, belief that the U.S. was past the pandemic sank to roughly 20% in July and December amid the Delta wave. The latest reading is the first of 2022 and is also the highest to date. While 34% of U.S. adults now say the pandemic is over in the U.S., 66% say it is not.


As has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic, Americans' views of its trajectory diverge sharply along partisan lines. Just as Republicans are much less likely than Democrats to worry they will get COVID-19, they are also much more likely than Democrats to say the pandemic is over in the U.S. -- 67% vs. 10% -- with 45% of independents saying the same.

The latest wave of COVID-19 has hit the northeastern U.S. harder than other regions, and Americans living in that area are slightly less likely than those in other parts of the country to think the pandemic is over.

Middle-aged Americans are most likely to say the pandemic has ended, while younger and older adults are less likely to hold this view. This pattern has held since last summer.


Long View on End of Pandemic Disruption Prevails

While an increasing percentage of Americans say the pandemic is over, the majority still believe that the level of disruption occurring to travel, school, work and public events in the U.S. will last at least through the end of 2022 (40%) or longer than that (34%). Fewer think it will be only a few more weeks (11%) or months (16%).


More Americans Say Lives Completely Back to Normal

Americans are more likely now than at any point over the past year and a half to say their lives are completely back to pre-pandemic normalcy. One in five, 21%, currently say this, and 58% say their lives have somewhat returned to normal. Another 21% say they are not yet back to where they were before the pandemic began. The latest readings are similar to those taken last summer before the Delta variant surge in cases.


Fifty percent of U.S. adults think their lives will never return to what they were before the pandemic. Twenty-nine percent of Americans say their normal lives will resume at some point though they differ on how long that will take, with most expecting it will be sometime next year.


Bottom Line

Despite an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Americans are feeling more optimistic about the trajectory of the pandemic. This latest wave of optimism that the end of the pandemic may be in reach is higher than last summer prior to the arrival of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in the U.S. That optimism was short-lived last summer. It remains to be seen how the pandemic plays out in the coming months.

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